Odyssey of Ashes: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Letting Go by Cheryl Krauter
Publisher: She Writes Press, (July 20, 2021)
Category: Memoir, Grief, Loss, Healing
Available in Print and ebook, 168 pages
Odyssey of Ashes: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Letting Go begins with the sudden death of Cheryl Krauter’s spouse. Five months later, in a stroke of irony and magic, her husband wins a long-desired guided fly-fishing trip in a raffle―and Cheryl decides to go in his place, fulfilling a promise to scatter his ashes by a trout stream.
Part I of this memoir is an account of the first year after Cheryl’s husband’s death, where she becomes an explorer in the infinite stream of grief and loss, a time traveler between the darkness of sorrow and the light of daily life. Part II concludes with stories of the poignant and humorous adventures she had during the ensuing year. Tying it all together and woven throughout is Cheryl’s account of the creation of an altar assembled during the three-day ritual of Los Días de los Muertos.
Poetic and mythological, Odyssey of Ashes is a raw story of loss and the deep transformation that traveling through darkness and returning to light can bring.
Guest Review by Sal
A stunning, emotional memoir about one woman’s struggle with grief, acceptance and the life beyond both.
Cheryl Krauter’s husband, John, died suddenly of a stroke one night in their home. Having only recently recovered from a bout of breast cancer that almost took her own life, Cheryl is devastated and overwhelmed by the loss.
A few months later, while her world is still in upheaval, Cheryl is shocked to discover that John has won a raffle for an all expenses paid fly fishing trip that he had always wanted to go on. When he was alive, John was an avid fly fisher and although, in the beginning of her marriage Cheryl wasn’t too keen on the sport, she began enjoying it as therapy while recovering from cancer.
Knowing that her husband had always said he wanted his ashes scattered in a fly-fishing stream, Cheryl decides to go on the prized trip in order to fulfill that final wish for the man that she loved. What follows is a touching and sometimes downright funny trip into the wilds of Montana that any memoir-lover will enjoy.
Cheryl Krauter’s writing is marvelous. As an avid Buddhist, she shares many quotes and meditations from her religion as well as quotes from famous authors, musicians, and other sources.
The book is divided into two parts, the first of which gives more of a background on John and Cheryl’s life together. The second contains most of her fly-fishing adventure in Montana.
This was both a poignant and beautiful book and one that I know I will remember for a long time to come. Cheryl’s take on grief and healing are so universal that anyone can relate to them and she writes with the conviction of a woman who has been through the worst and come out the other side.
About the Author
CHERYL KRAUTER is a San Francisco bay area psychotherapist with more than forty years of experience in the field of depth psychology and human consciousness. A cancer survivor, she is the author of Surviving the Storm: A Workbook for Telling Your Cancer Story (Oxford University Press, 2017) and Psychosocial Care of Cancer Survivors: A Clinician’s Guide and Workbook for Providing Wholehearted Care (Oxford University Press, 2018). She lives with her personal assistant, a cat named Amie.
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